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tv   Letters to a Young Muslim  CSPAN  January 21, 2017 9:00pm-9:59pm EST

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>> good evening, aberdeen, and thank you all so much for coming out tonight. i'm one of the co-owners of politics and prose, my husband i right there and we hope by the end of this event you will not be stuck here in a snowstorm. we're pretty confident you'll get outside but we're delighted have you here. before we get started i think many of you have been to events here. just a few housekeeping reminders ump if you have a noise-making device and can
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silent it, we into grateful for that. our guests will be in conversation for a bit and then they'll be happy to take questions from the audience. we do have a mike microphone set up here and would love it itself you would you make it to the mic so we can record the questions and that would be very helpful. at the end of the vent there while be a signing at this table. you would you be kind enough to fold up your chairs it would expedite the signing and being able to get through and it out of here and make our staff very happy. at the end of a long day. then i just want to say that this is our first week of events to 2017. we have an incredible calendar coming up and if you want a hard copy of our january calendar its at the information desk and the front of the store. lots of really good stuff. and one 0 thing we're most it couldded about is we're
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launching i think some of you may know if your read our news letter and e-mails -- a launching a series of teach-in is we suspect to be undergoing throw the winter, ranging across the a variety of subjects to try to educate and inform people about some of the challenge outsider country is faith little, issues on the forefront in next months and only years and if you have an interest in a particular issue or cause to give you some ideas and guidance as to what you can do as an individual or as part of a group to help make progress on those particular issues. this sunday is our kickoff at 2:20:30. on civil liberties and civil rights. we have an incredible panel coming. david cole, the executive director over the aclu. mike waldman, the chief speech rite for bill clinton now the head of the brennan center at
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new york university small author of many books about voting rights and the constitution. and todd cox from the naacp legal defense fund. so we're excited about having to the guys. all phenomenal experts on this and we look forward to seeing hopefully some of you and many more people 0 sunday afternoon. we'll also be doing one on women's rights on january 20th january 20th at 4:00 p.m., you can look at the web site for more details on that and we'll have some more upcoming things. lastly, we do have a display of books recommended for those teach- ins. i'm done with that part now. i can't say what an honor and delight it is to host ambassador omar tonight here at politics and prose. the young know he is the united arab emirates ambassador russia and assumed the position in 2009 at the ripe old age of 37. but i was thinking about this today going through certain --
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learning more about him. to think of him solely as a diplomat and even an important post is to understate his many wide-ranging interests and good work. in addition to representing his country overseas he is also now an author. that much i thing you know because he is speaking about his new book, called "letters to a young muslim" and a grandfather brief mention of hi other projects. he read law at oxford, earned an advanced degree in math at the university of london and founded several legal and financial companies, opened an art gallery and launched educational projects focusing on the promotion of arab literature. the driving force that led to the creation of a campus of new york university in abu dhabi. perhaps my favorite part he spent five years trekking in nepal and switzerland, experiencing nature the fullest
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as a climber of very tall peaks. all these experiences including fluency in four languages and his role and responsibilities as a father of two sons, are at work in his writing of letters to a young muslim. the book is a collection of misssives written to his own children. his effort to show them, and i quote, how to be faithful to islam and its deepest values as well as to he how to chart their way through a -- >> the book is written for your children and also young muslims, young men and young women in mine and i might suggest that this book also ought to be required reading for nonmuslims, too. i think anyone who reads it will gain tremendously from your view that people of all backgrounds have again to borrow your word, a duty to think and question and engage constructively with the world. those are wise words from wise man, and of course, so very poignant at this moment in our own country. so thank you for that.
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we're also very pleased to have with us marcus brockley in conversation with ambassador gobasr this evening. some consecutive you know marcus from his serious roles here in d.c. executive editor of the "washington post" in and now runs a small investment company on media and media technology. so thank you for being here, too. we're delighted have you both, and you have the floor. thank you for coming. , you few for being here on a cold night. if they get a dust of school they close -- dust offering snow they close the agos the governments. it's a great honor to be here with omar for the reasons lisa said. a deeply thoughtful man, whose courageous in his thinking and by that mean we live in a time which, as you all know, politics
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deeply polarized. people get arrested, jailed and worse for thinking thoughts that don't converge with the mainstream. and omar in this maelstrom stand out for his willingness to day take nuanced positions. the one thing that lisa didn't mention which is highly relevant in understanding omar's world view is that he was born very much born into this early days of the world we're living in today. born in 1971, which was the year that his country, united arab emirates was found it. he is groin up as the region has modernized. his father, who was foreign minimum story of the uae, was assassinated in 1977 when he was six. and i think that searing experience as much as anything, if you read this book, clear informs his awareness of the
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intolerance and violence of islamic radicalism, and his personal exploration follows his father's death, as an arar and muslim and father to two young sons shapes this narrative. so thought i ask you to talk about how you came to write this book. what motivated you and what you're trying to accomplish with it. we were just talking before we came out here how this it no a thingologial treatise. it's much more than that and -- theological treatise and for the larger world, for those whose not muslims to read. it's important for bringing understanding to an area of the world and to a religion that has become so central to our political experience. >> well, thank you very much. a great honor to be here. i thought the honors before -- >> speak into the mic.
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>> i shall. >> thank you very much. so, you didn't hear any of that. i'll start again. this miss favorite book store in d.c. and i think one of the last standing book stores in the world. so it's really a great honor to be here tonight. there are a couple of things i think need to be clarified. have not written a theology yamal test and i was asked by some key figure inside middle east where i had checked with religious scholars on the appropriateness of what i'm saying. and i actually responded by saying, i'm actually writing in spite of them and to take a position vis-a-vis the -- i'm not asking for religious schools though if i'm on the right track. i'm not talking about doctrine or prescriptions. i'm advising my son and my -- my two sons to perhaps think about
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taking a particular position on the world, even before they begin to think about the particular sects of religions they belong to. and that's the position that i haven't really heard being discussed, and that idea came out of the realization that there are converts coming into islam and they seem to have solved the problem that muslims have not solved. they knoll which one is the right path and particular cases they will choose sunni ya over shia islam and the question for me is how they came to the conclusion. so i tried to take a step back and say, what is informing a convert position? and in a sense, being a muslim in today's world, where we have so much information about competing sects, we're all in the same position. why i would stand up and say i'm a sunni as opposed to being asee
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shia? but i was born into a sunni family. wanted to say where are the common elements that come boundary or underlie everything from the peaceful, spiritual side of islam, or the way to the violence, aggressive, animalistic isis, which i believe is a certain kind of expression of islam. an inappropriate one and illegitimate one, but nevertheless it really does come from the source document. the only way i could come up with an understanding how to be a muslim today is come back to our humanity and say that actually our humanity informs or reading and if you're finding fors' some strange reason the koran permits you to rape, enslave, to rob to kill, then there's something wrong with you. and you haven't -- it's just too
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much of a co incidents you as a young male thug have found a religion that actually supports your position and your instincts and passions. so what is what i'm trying to say. before you come to text you need a position on life in first place. >> i've run out of -- >> let me take you back to the title of the book and at the porch you take, which i you're rules it's as sear of letters and misssives to your son or your sons. why did you take that approach and you're clearly trying to help them understand the strains of islam. you're take opening whole underpinnings of the religion and saying you must not be rigid about it. talk about why you took this framework and what are you trying to accomplish. >> to be honest, i was never really interested in taking the personal approach, and if you read the book you'll see it
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actually very personal. had written a -- what i tried to -- i tried to write more of a machine manifesto and guideline for young people to think about and an academic understand have to questions. publisher lid it's was great but very few people would read and itty suggested i think in a sear of letters so i rewrote the back between march, april, may -- so over the course of two months, i used the tool of addressing my older son and it was remarkable that it thrill released tremendous amounts of energy and i was able to wright continuously and -- there men less beyond inside include in the final version. so, that's where i came from. i can't claim it was my idea. but now that i've written it, it feels like i'm doing some public
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therapy sessions for myself, working the the issue missouri childhood. >> but you're also doing in a sense public therapy for your religion, and i've heard an idea enunciatessed in the u.s. that islam is in need of a reformation, martin luther. i come away feeling like that's what your arguing for that. needs to be a reformation to change the understanding of islam. >> i don't think it's fair to be honest. people of -- are you calling for reform of islam, they ask me? there's summing that's a body and we can debate and top-down instruction. i'm taking a much more modest position. i am -- to offer reform of islam suggests have some kind offing f
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theological understanding about i'm only asking for clarity, from the religious scholars who extra traditionally have held the respect in our islamic society. what i'm saying is that i think we should be asking clerics to come towards their flock and to actually learn about the people that hair guiding, and to perhaps understand that the flock has changed from the tenth century when most of us were ill late rat -- illiterate and today when everybody of as hawse incredible access to information and knowledge. the clerics have a very specialized area of expertise. what i'm asking them to do is to really think more broadly about the moral questions that each of us faces in multicultural societies. no longer a hoe mom news society of tenth century arabia. very dangerous to continue with the categories of believer no
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believe ex-ing are friend or foe, insider, outsider, especially when you're bumping into all kind of people all day long. so, i would like for this to be the start -- a dream situation -- if was the start off potentially a set of dialogues across muslim society, between the clerics who really have a repository of knowledge and thelight who are asks question, to what each can curt to do middle east and the miss him world in general. >> what is take to get the dialogue going? the u.s. these days i think there's a lot of concern about islam and extremism and islam and i think that the u.s. would
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and people in america would generally share the view it would be great if islam could be a religion more focuses on a modern multi curl tour society and not focused so mump on the seventh or under view of utopia and the caliphate. what does its tike get islam to modernize? >> one thing is that is important is the position of muslims in america. muslims in america have the protections of the law. they have an expectation they can speak freely. different from muslim cups where we not a to put in blasphemy laws. very interesting because they seem to be structured to end all debate, and you have to make sureey get on the right side of the blaspheme ya law. think the muslim communicates of america should take advantage of
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the situation here and at the academic freedom, the intellectual free tom to -- freedom to take -- affect the global islam and the debate taking blaze in middle east and air arabs. i'm not saying thes idea are reforming or modernizing. they're providing clarity. so, for example, i talk about the role of the muslim individual. i got some criticism by somebody online where they said that the individual is a weapon concept and, therefore, is not -- a western concept and that not brought into the die dialogue of our islam. i noted to myself that the person used facebook, which is western tool, or maybe that's not the appropriate term -- it's a product of western society. he was writing in english and
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writing as an individual. didn't have group behind i him. thought these are basic concepts we need to work out and to think about. i also think it's interesting that we have this focus on the group and that the idea of the individual is threatening to the group. think they compliment each other and the focus has been too much on the group which has formed that's kind of -- almost empty body about of people with little personality. want to race the level of quality of the group by beefing up the individual in the msu him world. >> there are two interesting -- many interesting elements to the book. a couple thinged want you to talk aboutment. win us your rue of an understanding of women and islam and you write in the become how you have an older sister who is -- you describe her in very impressive terms, and the way
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you write about women and the role you think they should play in islam is not, i i i would wod say the conventional view of how are. ry talk about how women should be treat. >> be treat. >> that's slightly biased. you know what i mean. >> now what you mean. >> i in apologies. >> well, we have a whole one of patriarchal societies in he mideast and i wonder in spread of islam we're actually exporting some of the local cultures and practices of the middle east, and that's a great idea, nor die think it's a particularly -- do i think it's a particularly appropriate. i can speak for the emirate
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where women are given freedom to males. and actually in practice that means is that women have the chance to really prove themselves and -- in fact they do much pet -- better job tan the males. we're morewide about where-under men are going or what they're doing. they set of expectations that completely unreasonable and that's a certain societies win the middle east are pushing forward on kind of wimp's -- women's empowerment. we have a whole bunch of cabinet ministers are women and doing an amazing job. much more interesting than the male members. my sister, she essentially brought me up and she has that kind of control over me, that an old are sister can have.
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often you'll hear in the rhetoric of certain clerics that women are emotional, weaker than men and unable to make decision. but i enjoy mountain climbing and my guide, mountain climbing guide, is a swedish woman who is about 5'3" and my life is in her hands. i trust her entirely. i've fallen from my position and hung in air, knowing that she is actually controlling the rope and making sure i don't fall to my death. and pulling her with me, of course. so that's important. we need to think in terms -- something i have spoken -- we have this idea that moral defection took place in the seventh century. and there's a tradition so they the first three generations of muslims were the perfect form of muslim through all time. i want to introduce the idea,
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maybe, or at least start a discussion what it mean toads be morally perfect or morally excellent as a muslim in the 21st century and i have difficulty understand hogue to do that if we're using a set on of concept inside the seven seventh century? the way we skying the word through through seven inch century lens or going even further, the legitimate line of authorities nell the tenth or 11th or 13th century, it make meds whether or not kerr whether we're on the right track. i had an interesting kind of -- i was very interested by the talk around the religious scholar yusefy we has asked about "black lives matter," and he was kind of dispaperring and his neal was it boiled down in my understanding, about the way in which african-americans raise their families and their commitment to responsibilities
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and commitment to family life and illinois able to -- illinois ability to do it. a lot of criticism was directed at him because he within taking into account structural racism and injustice. thought to myself this is a great opportunity him didn't say those are unacceptable categories. he said i'm sorry i didn't think of them. so these are concepts that happen come from outside of the concept that have come out of islam if thought. we this is a fantastic opportunity to begin to look at our open reactions and to realize that actually we recognize structural injustice even of the it was port of islamic theology. >> if have no idea if i answered your question. >> there was an excellent nance. in the other thing i'll ask one morphoand then open it up. from the book, i found quite --
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you talk about silence in the book, and how if i in other words it correctly, religion imposes a kind of silence on people, acceptance of the religious dogma imposes silence and nonthinkingness. you talk about your own youth when you were weighing what direction to go and you fell into the sway of certain of more dogmatic religious. you talk about how you think, reference to other young people and young men, how that play otherwise and then how you think that gets ended. >> well, i picked up on the silence issue so i'll start from there. at around 15 i decided i didn't have any opinions anymore because it was so difficult to reconcile having a russian mother, but having strict, rigid, dogmatic views of the
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world through islam at the time. at the time i was 14, 15. so i decided to leave and i took a time-out of about 20 years. three of those year were completely silent. had absolutely nothing say. did my exams and until the age of 19 i had no pound. -- no opinions. now i think i've solved that problem. i think -- i thought about silence a great deal, particularly the context of freedom of speech by wonder why the middle east is so hesitant to welcome speech. part of this is because we seem to be stuck in a kind of cycle where we reregurgitate the same discuss and all we have done is come if way conspiracy theory
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which removes any power we might have, and so it's kind of a dead end. part of the problem of silence is that when you're silent, i feel, you begin to lose the ability to think clearly. that's why i enjoy debate. enjoy q & a, the thinking on my feet, because it provokes me into being creative and commit tolling a dialogue. if you're silent there is now dialogue or weighty crash creative thinking. oning there to think destructively but nothing thinking constructively is a major problem in our part of the world. >> let me open the floor to questions. there's a microphone here which would be helpful since there's tv. if you would please line up
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behind the microphone. start taking questioned from the floor. >> thank you. >> you can identify yourself. >> i'm ron thompson. i was very lucky to catch you on the npr show, your interview with terry gross and then on the daily shore with trevor noah. you made a couple of opinion -- pointses thought were good and i read your book you asked the question, think on page 22, whether its more ethical to eave a strict islamic system or a psychologically healthy islamic society. i wonder how you answered that. the wording was very powerful. >> i'm glad you picked up on that and a that pops in pie head every day. certain communities they folk sunday cust so much on the rid doing and the regulation of -- ritual and regulation of islam
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but behind the scene wes know that there are people having nervous breakdowns, committing suicide, taking all kinds of meditation, and it -- medication and occurred me that the prophet told us that the religion is a religion of ease. not minute to be difficult. think we made it difficult and in making it difficult we have become obsessive about the tiny little details that have nothing too with the bulk and core of the religion. and i just wonder ted whether maybe we wouldn't be able to find -- if our clerics could think more in terms of psychology, it's one thing to pray five times a day. another thing to pray all night. and you -- there might even be a religious argument to maintain limits on your religiousity. i think that we need to recognize that there is a human
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psychology behind every muslim. and we shouldn't push each of -- push each other too the limit. didn't expand on that because is need have a whole sort of discussions about it with clerics and with people in the field of psychology. ... i wonder whether we didn't
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speak much about that. i mean is it really a religious personality more so or is it one of the two? >> there are reasons. what surprises me that western society people are to speak out. there are consequences to taking positions. i spoke on npr with terry gross and you know i come to the us, i don't have an idea of the leadings of the people i spoke to. and i speak what i think. feeling quite free. but then i get kind of a pushback. and people expressing that i have not taken a position in accordance with seems to ãso for me that has been interesting. i will say that my speaking out is not a straightforward matter. i'm continually thinking about
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what i am saying and saying to myself, i take responsibility for these words. because it is important for me as a human being. to have a position, to state with dignity. and to stand by. if people don't like it, then i can withdraw. but if you want to put a set of ideas out there. and let people think about them if they want. one of my close relatives has decided his ideas are beyond that but so be it. i think all myself and my children kind of an obligation to provide as much priority as i can. and to them. the problem here also is that there's kind of an islamic perspective that says, the world is fascinating. if you are in the right religious friend of mine you needn't worry about anything because you have everything. actually the world is an incredibly dynamic place. we have to continually reengage, in my case is a
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muslim with the world. it is a daily, weekly and monthly task. if not i pray my five president and that's it. it's not necessary again. rex -- >> thank you. >> my name is dan. i like your observation on a comment, some observations that i have read by a french philosopher whose name i unfortunately have forgotten. that the right way to look at what is happening with isis is to analogize it to the protestant reformation in europe and the 15th, 16th century.that is basically reaction of people who see religion being used to benefit some people and to not permit
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explorations of thought. such as in the 15th and in the renaissance. here i am thinking well, i can do this and maybe this, maybe a sudden moves or maybe the earth moves or who knows what moves. and perhaps the idea would be that his theory was not the same forces are at work in the islamic world and it is quite foolish to think of using military means to deal with that. >> very interesting question. when you got up i thought you were leaving. [laughter] thank you for appearing. [laughter] isis i think just very briefly, isis is a set of ideas. and you know isis is an
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organization can be destroyed. the ideas cannot be displayed. we can try to discredit the ideas but i'm not sure ã globally. so, i think of isis as a state of mind. a particularly easy one to absorb and to follow. it is very simple, very reductive and makes things black-and-white. i do not know enough about the 15th and 16th century religious ideas but i think it is interesting that isis comes along almost as a set of ãit is, what they are doing essentially challenging the traditional religious authorities. whether in egypt and i think we have the right to talk about these issues and legislate these issues and take this forward.
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i've attended a number of conferences where there have been a great deal of clerics who are promoting the idea of peace within islam. it is all fantastic but what i noticed about the physicians was, their criticisms of isis aren't about doctrine. it's about who has the right of authority.and i thought well, this is perhaps what we need ã as islam, this is what we need to get in touch with the clerics. to say you're fighting over power with a terrorist organization but you are not actually interested in us as individuals, as ethical agents. just want to take back that a 30 and tells what to do. so instructor you really aren't any different from what these people have done. that's why think it has to be, we need a set of clerics who are open and ready to have dialogues, respectful dialogue with 21st-century people have a broad education and who want to
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be you know, ethical agents in the arab world. >> connect follow up with geopolitics? you have a unique perspective in that you are coming to russia now for eight years, you know a lot about how russians government thinks about things. you're from the middle east and spend time here and in the west. after syria or maybe the crisis syria. with isis seemingly in retreat and iraq and syria, what do you see answered the next stage of ideological struggles within islam where west is involved. i will include russia. in that region. >> i will not answer your question because it is difficult for us all of off on a tangent. [laughter] i think where the west is deeply involved with us
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in the arab and muslim world, on the question but that 20 questions of islamic phobia and extremism. very often, we was concerns about these concerns and their legitimate. but when we think about all the other minority groups also whether in the us or elsewhere and also the arab and muslim world. we need to think about how we are dealing with minorities. and i really am very concerned about, sometimes if you like to focus too much on that phobia angle and internal discussion in immunity about extremism's. i think these are linked but she also be separated. we talked about islamophobia use as an excuse to hide some of the very serious and critical issues that the
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islamic immunity is facing globally. >> okay. chris yes i have something. my name is ãi am a brand builder and i do marketing. in 2011, i did a talk at sxsw called rebranding islam. the reason i did it was because at the time, there was the mosque being built across from the world trade center. i am jewish i have a lot of muslim friends and like i really wanted to defend it. you know i really wanted to support it because i felt like that was religious freedom. but i realize i did not hear a lot of muslims in america make a generalization here but in my world that were speaking out against terrorism. so put together this talk and the wife of ãshe came and one of, some of the workers came
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and we had a moderator there and was a really polarizing discussion. because again, i'm not a theologian or anything but what's important to me is a state of understanding and how can muslims in america bridge that gap between what americans think of islam which is you know, fanatics and so that was wonderful years later there are a lot of discussions and the clerics in america in my view have been opening up the discussions and having those conversations and speaking out against terrorism. really in small ways changing the way americans view islam. i guess my question is you know, there is not a great has not changed that much.
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and ãof the new television show coming out about modern family but for islam. you know to normalize, instead of normalizing homosexuality, normalizing islam by having that kind of ãand pop culture. i think that might be the only way. i don't know. >> yeah. i will tell you, when september 11 took place i was horrified. and i thought well, i've been thinking about medical islam from the age about 14 or 15. so the early 80s or mid-80s. i thought finally, september 11 has to be a turning point for the community. admit think about what will allow us to be sent to our children, our neighbors. because traditionally, in areas i went to it was a lot of angry preaching. a lot of politicized preaching.
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and i thought that the reaction of the arab world would be to look into this and into these issues. but the reaction was really, we have to change the image of islam and the west. and you know, i have respect for brandon. but it's a product is, it is not clear. where we really stand on this. because we can spend a ton of money on glossy brochures and a t.v. series. but when i go home i. >> guest: people at the mosque and we ourselves are wondering, where are we going with all this? where are our clerics taking us? and i think this is long overdue discussion in the communities. >> i have one quick thing. i guess when i was hearing you talk before i am jewish. there are different strains of judaism. there is conservatives.
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it sounds like every, every muslim is the religiosity is to the extreme but that is not true. next it is not true. i agree with that. it is an invitation to my fellow muslims. to take more responsibility. i know that there muslims who are not particularly devout. were identify with the fake. it is kind of a warm cozy feeling. but we do have a bunch of people within the faith who have an agenda to convert the rest of us to this. there ready to take so that's what i'm talking about. i take responsibility because i have to say to my child, you don't understand that isis is actually an evil organization. because they're talking to you through your teachable -- teacher at school. and through the internet.
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if you want to be an american muslim go to starbucks, the bookshop and work and not worry about the islam issues globally. that is her choice. and at that you're taking responsibility like that but it is up to you. i also think that, a lot of people are saying that you know in america, muslims should be afraid. i am at well, there are a lot of people who may be afraid. and in the last 100 years in the different communities in the us. but communities get together and take advantage of the constitution and actually work to establish a position for themselves in the community. that is what i would like to see. not ãi think it is a little self-indulgent to say well, i am a muslim and those people don't have anything to do with me. they have everything to do with us. >> hello, my name is -. when
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you say before about american muslims ability to engage in internal dialogue, are there any plans to translate your book into arabic? and can you share, i know a lot of human rights activists are just ãon social media are having informal exchanges with people who are extremists under very trying circumstances. can you share any organizations that are already trying to do that kind of dialogue and in a somewhat systematic way? >> yet, there are organizations. we note everything going for coming other organizations in the uk, i am involved with a center for radicalization in london. but that is doing more of an analysis of the kind of mentality behind extremism. the book, i've got an offer from an arab publisher.
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i'm very keen to see it in arabic. yesterday i got the news that a turkish publisher wants the book as well. pakistan is not called. but ? [laughter] i was very impressed the taiwanese would like it. so yeah. the offer was to do in chinese. so i will try and figure out what that is about. [laughter] [inaudible] compound hong kong as well. -- you know, these are early days as far as i'm concerned. again, i just, i really want to stress this is not a prescriptive kind of text. this is the text that asked people to begin to engage with a set of questions. maybe, maybe we will get some clarity. maybe there is a
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straightforward answer. some people have offered me. >> hi. my name is ãthe muslim experience in the west can be quite different from a muslim experience in other countries. the way muslim in the west approach islam, how issues and no problems are different. even our clerics are very different. i am sitting here looking to you. at some trouble trying to relate to a lot of the things that you were saying. eyes someone who is local ãan advocate for gender equality and advocate with the lgbt q community i was struggling with a lot of things he was saying. i was wondering, your book, letters to a young muslim, exactly which muslims is his address?
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even in the majority country, a muslim experience in indonesia would be different from muslims in pakistan which will be different from anywhere else. so who is this targeting really? >> well i should have named it letters to my older son. because of my younger son will not find absolutely everything relevant to him. you know it is a set of questions. you know, for example the question of sexuality. it is impossible to open the question in the arab world. it is impossible to open up to those ideas. i mean they are ãif you came to the arab world and said you are promoting gay rights. they would be horrified and laugh at you. even though everybody knows that sexuality is very diverse in the arab world. in the heartland it is not. i am not saying that i address every single young muslim.
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and i'm not saying that every single piece of advice or invitation to think in the book is relevant to every single muslim. there are 27 lessons i believe. i will be happy you know if each muslim who picks up the book finds three of them. i'm not out to preach. i am just inviting a discussion. and the american experience of islam is different. so maybe the american muslim should just declare their independence to that local community of muslims and go to on part. there are a lot of people who are fishing a radical agenda he says ãhe must fall in line and one day they will come to the muslims of america so you have to follow line with this great project we have. you need to be aware of how other muslims are looking at the community. it is also kind of a push ãi'm asking my son to be aware of
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the potential manipulative intentions of others. in the name of religion. i hope that was okay. [laughter] >> speaking of manipulative intentions. i am an educator in museums with a background in islamic art and arabic studies. i also taught math, science and religion in catholic school for two years. in that time i did a lot of thinking about what and how i would be asked to teach. he said that before you come to the text, speaking specifically about the koran, you should discover your position on life and i have not read your book yet so my apologies if you already addressed this but, at what point and in what ways indeed suggest we teach children about religion? >> it is a difficult one.
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you know, i know how we should not teach them. but i do not really know how to go forward ãthat seems to be kind of a growing trend in the muslim communities that i mixed in. we mix in education with indoctrination. so we create a model muslims. and you know, i think that is unfair. i think that they limit their options. and i think it limits the potential. it limits the potential of the religion. it luckily child into a particular worldview. it does not give the freedom to think more broadly. so that is what worries me. you know you have a stumps. i'll have to come back and think about that one. thank you. [laughter] my apologies.
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>> hi, i am a clinical psychologist. my question ? >> what is your diagnosis? how much time do you have? [laughter] i was raised muslim and my parents experienced islam and the nation of islam and kind of joined the more mainstream expression of islam, sunni islam. that was certainly my world growing up. again, we will raise in a way that appreciated multiculturalism and you know, religious plurality. and values. my question is sort of two-pronged. my education is a psychologist, often times unfortunately our clerics and religious leaders do a poor job of counseling. and so i guess the question is how do we go about changing them from the inside out? and i guess to follow on, any
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advice on folks like me that are just sort of community members as far as going about changing that. also going about kind of, holding accountable or encouraging people who are clearly having mental health issues to go about seeking to address those. >> we maybe think about is a way in which clerics traditionally viewed their own function. but they are the ones who possess the knowledge. and essentially that religious knowledge is the only really relevant knowledge.and that if you are not a follower of islam in the way that they are, you do not have a right to engage in the discussion. but if you have a suggestion, interesting but keep it to yourself. what i am saying is we need to expand the notion of the scholar of islam and the people
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who have the authority to speak about these issues to widen it. historians, psychologists, people who have a greater understanding. and to take to the clerics you know, you're still the one to understand the ãintricacies of islam. but to make those kind of decisions today and to help muslims move forward, we need a much greater number of people coming together and informing the decisions or suggestions and recommendations of the clerical and religious classes. so i am saying that knowledge, our knowledge of ourselves have developed so much over the last thousand years and at the clerical task seems to be stuck where they have a view of how knowledge works. -- thank you very much. >> one last question. >> my question is also kind of the psychology part of this.
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-- [laughter] [inaudible] >> you are taking your time and enjoying it. >> you mentioned my friends and i wondered why committing suicide was seen as a suicide attacker was seen as a great, well committing suicide in general is a great sin against the law -- i agree with the statement and question but i was intrigued by the choice of words you know committing suicide was a great sin if someone committed suicide as a result of that is unhappiness. but would you like me but enough was a conscious effort on my part but the narrative heard was when you talk about depression related suicide and depression is one of the mental illnesses, the narrative i hear
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from this is if you truly practice islam the right weight you will never be depressed. or that he must not be practicing right because if you did, it would not have happened to you. so i wondered if these were the words that ãsuicide or unhappiness, did the word depression, into why you were writing this or was it a coincidence? >> certainly thinking of depression and of the whole set of issues that have led to people in the middle east committing suicide.there are all kinds of reasons people commit suicide. i find it kind of objectionable that we are told you cannot do it because you know like is a gift from god but in the case when you do something for global because it is okay. anything can hearing and sensible. i think i see sometimes in the book the whole idea of sacrificing your life for god, it is a great sacrifice. i mean it is a very big
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sacrifice you cannot make any sacrifices after that. if you are interested in making sacrifices for your religion, for allah and stick around. stick around and make this world a better place. there was something also wanted to say to you but it disappeared. i am sorry. >> this is been tremendous and i think on that note, stick around and make more sacrifices, you can endorse the idea. it has been remarkable and wide-ranging conversation. i recommend the book to all of you.if you're not a chance to read it it is eloquent, thoughtful and as you can tell the author is also very concerned about issues that are central to our times. i hope you all read it and thank him for his participation. [applause] >> thank you. >> of course we all do want to
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be enough. we do have copies available up at the front and omar will be happy to sign the market. thank you all so much for coming out. [inaudible conversations] >> booktv takes hundreds of author programs throughout the country all year long. here's a look at some of the events we will cover this week. on monday nato times in our assistant director of the arts organization creative times will discuss how capitalism -- in new york city.


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